eCLECtic Blog

CLEC Breaks Attendance Records for Fifth Straight Year

 CLEC Opening

The 2020 Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC) was held February 27-29 in Orlando. We saw 620 registered attendees, which breaks the registration record for the fifth straight year. In addition, we had 25 industry partners, and the ASCLS Education & Research Fund raised nearly $2,000 for scholarships with its Silent Auction.

For the first time, CLEC offered a New Educator Workshop (NEW) to address the needs of those new to educator positions in clinical laboratory science-related programs. Nearly 80 people participated in the workshop, which was very well-received:

  • "As a new educator myself after spending 22 years in the National Health Service, this was by far one of the most useful sessions that I attended."
  • "I learned a lot! I also felt comforted knowing everyone else was in the same boat as me and I wasn't alone in the journey as a new educator."
  • "It really helped me to realize I don't have to know everything right away and it will be okay."

CLEC 2020 included 25 poster presentations. You can view digital versions of posters that are available as PDFs, and watch Teresa Wolfe's virtual presentation of her poster, Integration of the Centers for Disease Control Competency Guidelines for Public Health Laboratory Professionals into a Medical Laboratory Training Program.

Here are a more comments from attendees about their experience at CLEC 2020:

  • "It was great to get new ideas and see new equipment and then have time to discuss new ways to improve our program."
  • "It brings all the laboratory professional educators together giving us an opportunity to learn from each other. Also, it allows us to see others' strengths and struggles in maintaining a successful program."
  • "I love CLEC and try to go every year I get a chance. I always learn lots about teaching that I am able to take back to my school and my students, and I love networking with new educators as well as educators I tend to see many years in a row."
  • "The sessions were amazing and the descriptions with handouts helped tremendously at being able to determine which session I wanted to attend."

We've already begun plans for CLEC 2021, which will be held in Denver, Colorado, February 25-27, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel.

You can submit program ideas and proposals for the 2021 meeting by May 15. All confirmed speakers will receive a registration discount, so send in your ideas and join us in Denver next year!

2021 CLEC 600px

CLEC Opening Keynote Will Help You Address Burnout, Prioritize Personal Health, and Build a Culture of Wellness

MD Pipas Cropped

We are excited to announce that the 2020 Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference Opening Keynote speaker on Thursday afternoon is Catherine Florio Pipas, MD, MPH. Her talk, “Caring for Me – Caring for You: Strategies to Pursue Personal Health and Create a Culture of Wellness,” will address the growing problem and impact of burnout in medical laboratory science. Attendees will gain new tools to work towards personal wellbeing and learn effective ways to partner with colleagues to create a greater impact in your institution and on your students.

Pipas DoctorsDozen 3D spineDr. Pipas is professor of community and family medicine in the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI) and Department of Medical Education at the Geisel School of Medicine. She has been recognized as a passionate leader in education, research, and clinical care and is author of A Doctor’s Dozen: 12 Strategies for Personal Health and a Culture of Wellness. Her book delivers the framework for a wellness curriculum for health professionals – and everyone else. She will be available after the keynote to sign copies of her book.

Dr. Pipas is committed to improving health nationally and internationally and provides coaching and training across professions to promote healthy individuals and healthy organizations. Come to the Opening Keynote ready to discuss the importance of personal wellbeing and the impact of burnout on individuals, teams, and learners.

Online registration for CLEC 2020 is open through February 13. Join us in Orlando, February 27-29!

Tips for First-Time CLEC Attendees

If this is your first Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC), you probably have several of questions about what to expect and how to maximize your time in Orlando. We are very grateful to our experienced CLEC attendees who volunteered these helpful tips to ensure you have a great first experience.

Before CLEC, Plan Ahead

  1. app 2View the handouts (or download/print) that accompany sessions you plan to attend so you can already form questions you'd like to have answered. Or you may decide to attend a different session during that time slot. Handouts will be available through the online program and conference app on.

  2. Download the ASCLS Events app before coming to the conference hotel and start creating your personal schedule. The app can be found on Google Play and on the Apple App Store. The app allows you to view session descriptions and handouts, reference maps of the hotel, and get alerts about important meeting news. You can also connect with fellow CLEC attendees by sending messages to other app users, uploading photos to the timeline, and more.

  3. Check out the list of exhibitors, and plan to seek out answers to important questions from particular vendors (set a goal of one or two questions to answer while at CLEC). For instance: 

    Looking for lab supply discounts? Plan to look for the vendors who supply those items and get contact info. 
    Looking for a new Urinalysis textbook? Plan to visit all the publisher tables and ask what they have available for UA.

  4. Bring a supply of business cards, or ensure you have a quick means of giving your contact information to others. Your name badge can be a handy place to keep extra business cards.

  5. Plan to ship items home, if you are travelling by air, so you don't have to worry about transporting larger souvenirs, posters, or textbooks back home. There is a Business Center located within the CLEC Headquarters Hotel that is a convenient option.

  6. Do your site-seeing before or after the conference, if you can swing an extra day before or after CLEC. The Host Committee has suggestions for you, and CLEC attendees receive specially priced Disney tickets. 

  7. Take advantage of the Thursday and Friday evening receptions to connect and network. This way you can maximize your "networking" time during the conference and still have time to accomplish your goals.

During CLEC, Connect

  1. FistBumpSocialTake advantage of every opportunity to meet others and network! This is especially important if you are relatively new to teaching. Attend as many sessions as possible and engage in conversations with individuals on either side of you. This is by far the most popular piece of advice!

    “I came to my first CLEC alone (I was not with a program yet) and I made some very important connections with people. When traveling with a group, it is too easy to become inclusive, but when traveling alone, you are nearly forced (if you don't get out your phone), to talk to others ... connecting with other educators, and educators from programs that are different than mine is a major value of the program and therefore worth the effort to do the pre-post work necessary so that you can get the most out of the meeting.”

    “Two years ago, I was a first-time attendee to CLEC. Although I was nervous and didn't know anyone; I quickly became comfortable and engaged with fellow laboratorians.”

    “My best suggestion is to not be afraid to ask questions and interact with others. Whether or not you know someone, we are there to help each other. CLEC is a think tank! Many of us openly share resources to help each other!”

    “If you are coming with a group that you already know, try to push yourselves to separate and meet and hang with others. You can always meet back up with your original group to share, but sitting together and moving together as a group doesn't allow you to interact and meet those new people. Try to sit in a different spot each time you walk into one of the rooms and sit with someone new in each session.”

    “I have made lifelong friends at CLEC—people who have identical programs in structure to mine that I still use as a resource all the time.”

    “[CLEC has] wonderful speakers, but I have also learned so much from talking to the person next to me or the person at my lunch table, etc.”

  2. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing; the dress code is business casual. Orlando weather in February is typically around 75 degrees in the daytime, with evening lows in the mid-50s. As always, layering your clothing works best to ensure you will be comfortable in the sessions as well as in the evenings around town.

  3. Write notes when gathering contact info from others about why that contact is important; write on the back of their business card or keep a supply of small post-it notes to jot down contact info and important details, e.g. request desk copy of textbook, contact for example case studies, or build connection for program cooperation.

  4. Bring a notebook containing session documents, such as handouts, to take notes on. CLEC is an exciting time to network, learn, and validate that you are where you need and want to be.

After CLEC, Keep Connecting

Set aside a day to organize and follow up on all your contacts; send emails to those you connected with and catalog your meeting notes.

“Most importantly, remember that it is not just an event that you attend and forget. It is an ongoing event. You will want to follow-up with people after and then year after year.”

Thanks to Angela Baxter, MLS program director at Emory University Hospital Midtown; Marianne Downes, assistant professor at West Virginia University; Candice Grayson, program director at Community College of Baltimore County; DeAnne Maxwell, CLS program director at Franciscan Health Indianapolis; and Pat Tille, associate professor at University of Cincinnati, for providing their thoughtful advice.

Closing Keynote Will Empower CLEC 2020 Attendees to Take an Active Role in Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

Dr. Jerrihlyn McGee Professional PhotoThe 2020 Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference Closing Keynote on Saturday, February 29, Building Capacity for the Future: Fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Academe, is intended to start a conversation that can potentially continue at your home organization or institution.

Jerrihlyn L. McGee, DNP, RN, CNE, was named the first vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion for the University of Kansas Medical Center last September. “We thought she would be the ideal person to present on this topic,” said Dana Bostic, 2020 CLEC Steering Committee chair. “She has a distinguished record that demonstrates her work in diversity and inclusion. Dr. McGee’s background in clinical work, research, and as an educator really adds to her potential to relate well with meeting attendees. She engages well with her audience and ties in personal elements from her own life to make her presentation even that much more meaningful.”

CLEC organizers hope that attendees will leave the keynote with an increased awareness and sensitivity towards diversity and inclusion. Furthermore, every attendee should feel empowered and know that we all have a role in diversity and inclusion topics.

“We all have a responsibility to be mindful of diversity and inclusion as it relates to content delivery, curriculum design, fostering educator-student relationships, potential interactions in the clinical environment, and so forth,” Bostic added. “Ultimately, I would love for everyone to be inspired and to become more involved in promoting this work within our own body of work.”

Online registration is open through February 13. Join us in Orlando, February 27-29.

CLEC 2020 Will Provide New Educators Knowledge and Tools to Succeed

Dr. Susan Beck
Deborah Brock
Dr. Kathy Doig
Terry Taff

If you are a new (or newish) clinical laboratory science educator, you won’t want to miss the New Educator Workshop (NEW), which will be held on Thursday, February 27, 9-11:30 am before the 2020 Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC) begins. This hands-on workshop is designed to assist early-career educators with their transition from the clinical laboratory into teaching roles within academia and support their professional development. 

The creation of NEW was inspired by a recognition of increasing numbers of newer educators in the field, as well as feedback from previous CLEC attendees asking for expanded educational sessions and engagement opportunities that address the unique needs of new educators. The CLEC Steering Committee, in collaboration with the ASCLS Committee for Education Programs and Initiatives (CEPI)—a subcommittee of the ASCLS Education Scientific Assembly (ESA)—initiated this workshop as a dedicated time and space to address new educator needs.

Designed and presented by CEPI members, NEW will provide attendees an intimate environment with other new educators where they can interact, learn from peers, and build valuable connections with colleagues in similar situations.

“We hope that attendees will take away really practical ideas to help them address the major challenges that face new faculty, like deciding on content, managing student engagement, or finding a mentor,” says Dr. Kathy Doig, NEW presenter. “We will be making the session interactive in various ways so that attendees have opportunities to get their specific questions answered. We hope that networking during NEW sparks a community that will extend beyond the workshop, including an online community for sharing questions that might arise even after the workshop.”

Each workshop speaker has decades of experience to share with attendees. Presenters include Dr. Susan Beck, Deborah Brock, Dr. Doig, and Terry Taff who will cover the following topics:

  • From Clinical to Classroom: Tips for New Faculty Members
  • I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me … Lessons Learned by Educators
  • Experienced Educator Panel – Ask the Experts!
  • Online Education Resources Available

“Great laboratory science educators prepare the next generation of great laboratory scientists,” says Daniel deRegnier, CEPI vice chair and NEW organizer. “And, from those great laboratory scientists we get new great laboratory science educators—it’s a big circle. Those of us who have spent a lot of our career in education care a lot about the next generation of educators and graduates that will follow us.”

Participants can earn 2.0 hours of P.A.C.E.® credit. Additional registration required for the workshop: $75 for ASCLS members/$95 for non-members (add it on while registering for CLEC).

CLEC 2020 will be held February 27-29 in Orlando, Florida. Register by December 28 to get the early bird rate and save $100 off onsite registration.